It’s almost back-to-school time, already!

Published 8:38 am Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Summer vacation is rapidly coming to a close as area schools are readying for the 2019-20 school year. City School students return to school next week for a half day Thursday. Teacher inservice days are scheduled Monday and Tuesday with teacher workdays Wednesday and Friday. Students will return to school for their full day August 12.
Carter County school students will also return to school August 12 with teacher workdays scheduled August 5, 6, 8, and 9.
The school year is already well underway with a back-to-school bash this past Saturday for students at Harmony Free Will Baptist Church. This Saturday, a back-to-school bash for city students will be held at Elizabethton High School.
It’s a busy time for both students and teachers. Teachers in some instances are meeting with newly appointed principals, and will be tidying their classrooms, while students are busy purchasing school supplies and new clothes.
For parents, sending their children back to school is a double-edged sword. They are relieved to return to a regular routine but anxious about the challenges their children may face this year.
In any event, it’s about time to shift into school-year mode, a frame of mind that changes from year to year as kids progress from kindergarten through high school. But some things remain constant, such as: What you get out of school depends on how much you are willing to put into it. And that applies to parents as well as students.
The students are the ones who (hopefully) go to school everyday, but their parents’ involvement can make a big difference, whether it’s helping with homework and providing a quiet place to do it, attending back-to-school night to meet their teachers, or just showing an interest in what the student is studying and (hopefully) learning. In other words, as study after study has found, the more parents communicate with their students, the greater their level of achievement in school.
But those lines of communication should also extend to the students’ teachers and school administrators, and the dialog can begin with four small words: How can I help?
Teachers on top of the dedication and commitment they bring to the classroom every day, often make personal investments out of their own pocket for supplies.
Parents can help out by asking teachers what they need to make their classrooms more hospitable. Maybe it’s boxes of tissues or bottles of hand sanitizer or some other supplies that always run short.
Perhaps the biggest contribution every parent can make is to send to school students who are ready to learn, students who realize that by applying themselves they can be as successful as they want to be. Send students who want to be challenged, not students who need to be babysat. Send students who want to help their fellow students, not bully them.
The best school experience goes beyond the classroom. Students should be encouraged to take part in activities at their schools, whether it be writing for the newspaper, cleaning the chalkboard, or running for class president. Good athletes and musicians are always in demand. Every school is a small city unto itself, and the students are its citizens, each with a responsibility to contribute or lead in some way.
So whether the big decision your family will face this year is choosing the right superhero lunchbox, or choosing the right college or university, the start of school is always an auspicious occasion. Make sure this year it’s as good as it can be by taking an active role with your student and your school, and everyone will be better off for it.
We want to wish all the students — those excited to get back in the classroom and those mourning the end of their summer vacation — success over the coming months.
If everyone does their part, including students, teachers, and parents, we can keep our community’s children safe and on the proper learning curve.
Now, it’s back-to-school time.

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